IPA’s Social Protection Program works with governments and other programs working to move households out of extreme poverty by creating economic opportunities for the poor. The Social Protection Program has a growing body of research on identifying and scaling effective social protection programs, including cash transfers and cash plus programs, graduation programs, job training, and youth employment programs. We have a large and growing body of work focused on resilience and food security activities supported by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, with multifaceted programs implemented by leading international NGOs designed to improve income and food security for the poor, as well as an important multi-country evaluation of adaptive social protection programming in the Sahel with the World Bank and national safety net programs.

We are seeking a Program Director to lead the work of the Social Protection Program into its next phase: building on and growing a strong body of evidence to help bring effective programs to scale. The Program Director will lead on strategic planning, development of policy-relevant projects, and building a team to work across IPA offices to carry out large-scale research projects and share findings with key decision-makers. Working with academic advisors, implementers, and policymakers, the Program Director will identify priority evidence gaps in the sector, and coordinate with research teams (including principal investigators at research universities and multilateral institutions), program staff, and IPA country programs to develop projects addressing those evidence gaps in collaboration with project partners. The Program Director will represent the Social Protection Program internally and externally and share evidence with governments, NGOs, and funders at events.

  • Expand the work of the Social Protection Program into strategic policy areas including safety net design and youth employment
  • Lead new project development efforts, including engagement with potential partner organizations, in collaboration with Principal Investigators and IPA Country Offices. Raise funds for new projects
  • Grow and maintain the Program’s network of researchers, partners, and funders
  • Keep abreast of academic literature in social protection and produce high-quality evidence summaries
  • Work with team members to produce research and policy outputs relevant to communicate IPA’s work in this space, including articles, reports, website content (project summaries, etc.), and print materials
  • Plan and carry out dissemination events, and present results to policy makers
  • Oversee grant reporting and manage budgets and donor relationships
  • Advanced degree in Economics, Public Policy, social sciences, or a related field
  • At least seven years of relevant work experience (three minimum with a Ph.D.) in research and evaluation and/or policy design and implementation in social protection
  • Familiarity with quantitative research, impact evaluations and randomized trials, as well as expertise in one or more areas of social protection, including cash transfers, safety nets, graduation and livelihood development programs, and employment programs
  • Strategic thinker with strong vision for how to develop and leverage key partnerships to position IPA as a major voice in the sector
  • Excellent communication, client management, and presentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to raise funds; experience in proposal writing essential
  • Demonstrated project management skills, including budgeting, and ability to manage a team
  • Ability to manage high-level relationships with partner organizations, donors, and government officials
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently
  • French or Spanish proficiency a plus


Where do you want to work? As a truly global organization, IPA operates in 22 countries around the world. For most of our positions, staff can be based in any of our countries of operation.   We value and support flexibility as part of our hybrid workplace model for in person or remote work experiences to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs. We believe in a hybrid workplace model in which employees have the option of working from home and/or any of our office locations, except for essential onsite roles. Throughout the recruiting process, you can discuss the options with your recruiter and hiring manager. See below for our country office locations:  

  • US: AZ, CA, CT, DC, FL, IL, IA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, NC, PA, TX, WV
  • Asia: Myanmar, Philippines, Bangladesh
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru
  • Africa: Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana,, Kenya Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia

Other Options: IPA also works through third party employer arrangement (Employer of Record) to accommodate global deployment of staff in locations where we don’t have official registration. Candidates must have work authorization for the country in which they would prefer to work.

Application Instructions 
About IPA 

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it. IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 600 leading academics to conduct over 900 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide. 

IPA's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) 

As an organization, IPA is dedicated to improving the lives of the world's most vulnerable populations through evidence and policy. We also recognize how important it is for our staff to reflect the diversity of the places where we work and the communities we work with. As such, IPA is committed to hiring from a diverse pool of candidates, from a range of backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. We know that this makes our work stronger and more responsive to the challenges faced by those we work with and for and we encourage people from historically underrepresented groups to apply. Click here to learn more about IPA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Innovations for Poverty Action is an affirmative action equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected class. IPA will endeavor to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of our business. If you believe you require such assistance to complete this form or to participate in an interview, please contact us at jobs@poverty-action.org or via phone at 1-202-386-6200. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work to be performed by the specified position. The statements are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all possible duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Management reserves the right to amend and change responsibilities to meet organizational needs as necessary. Please note that IPA will never request any form of payment from an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to confirm the information listed above with IPA prior to releasing any extensive personal information to the organization. Please direct questions to jobs@poverty-action.org.

** Please note that only qualified applicants will be contacted by the hiring manager.